Immediately after the initial shock, you go through a period of numbness that only recedes when help arrives in the form of those who genuinely want to provide the assistance in a form that could make a difference.
But sadly, experience tells us that too often the ones who have the capacity to help in a meaningful way are dismissive of the local advice from those best placed to make comparative assessments of the damage caused during each climate event but, more importantly, comparative assessments of the Local and Central Government responses after each disaster.
It goes without saying that these authorities have a responsibility to seek that advice in order to formulate efficient and workable plans for the recovery.
However, this is not a time when the “powers that be” can remain fixated on designing a recovery based on taxpayer dollars that will shield only them from any blame and ensures their own political survival. Tragically, we are the ones living in the real world.
We need help that only Government can provide - we need it now and it needs to be in a form that is fit for purpose.
Yet here at the coalface where the devastation has to be seen to be believed, we are dealing with politicians who are shedding crocodile tears while ignoring the people who have the background knowledge that could ensure appropriate measures are put in place for the immediate recovery and recommend policies that will go some way to avoid these disasters happening again.
Most of us accept that these cyclones are related to global warming but our response to this phenomenon and the attendant climate events needs to be based on adopting practical ideas for change in the way we do things in the future rather than concentrating on the Government’s obsession with its idealogical objective of reducing our carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
It beggars belief that Cabinet ministers (4 of whom were in Gisborne after cyclone Hale) are still procrastinating about what needs to happen on the ground in the face of overwhelming evidence that their ideological goals can still be achieved without reverting to the selective punitive measures currently being imposed on the Agriculture industry.
Unfortunately these same politicians have rejected local calls for an enquiry into the forestry industry, offering instead a review which would no doubt absolve them all from blame.
Not only would an enquiry get to the truth including exposing options for much needed changes to our response to climate change but it would also uncover the disastrous effects of current policy that are nonsensical and represent a betrayal of monumental proportions.
Of course it might be expecting a bit much to believe politicians are capable of doing the right thing when their own survival is threatened but we can but live in hope. It is perhaps ironic to suggest that the one thing that might save their necks in these circumstances is for them to lead the way in accepting and directing the change that is needed.
But in order for those changes to be effective, they need to be on our terms - not theirs!
I wouldn’t bet the house on these clowns being brave enough to own up to their own responsibilities. Defeat at the polls might make a difference but probably not!
But Luxon and Co will have to promise to do things that they might not want to consider either.
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.